In a recent survey by Daysmart Software, 54% of small business owners admitted to being worried about making enough money. Making money is a common concern because not only does it factor in bringing in enough clients or customers but also ensuring your products or services are priced right and negotiating any cash flow problems.
Small business owners have lots of stressors as they follow their dreams. It might surprise you just how much the chamber can help with these concerns.
According to the study, small business owners report they are most concerned about
- Making enough money
- Controlling costs
- Finding new customers
- Marketing to prospective and/or current customers
- Managing time
The chamber and chamber membership can help address all these common concerns and challenges.
Put the Chamber to Work for Your Business
If you’re like most small business owners, you can likely identify with these common business concerns but what you may not realize is how effectively a chamber membership can help you solve these problems. The solutions may take you getting involved and participating but chamber membership can act of business “gym” that you need to become stronger and begin making healthier choices for your business.
Making Enough Money
In the beginning of your business, it might not be about becoming a millionaire as much as it is simply making enough money to stay in operation. Making enough money means you’re factoring in what’s coming in and what’s going out. The chamber can help your efforts in making enough money in the following ways.
While a chamber membership is an initial outlay of money, you can derive a lot of value from it. It can even help you control costs by introducing you to other business people who may be able to provide you with goods and services.
In addition to meeting new business contacts that could save you money, check with your chamber to find out if they have a chamber “hot deals” program. These programs offer discounts from chamber members for chamber members. They can provide considerable cost savings to members.
The exchange between members may also reveal how other small business owners manage their costs. While you can research that on the internet, sometimes having local advice can be invaluable.
You can also get more for less by attending some of your chamber’s lunch and learn programs. Maybe you’ve been wondering how to incorporate Instagram into your business but don’t have the money to pay someone to teach you or do it for you. Many learning exchanges are free at the chamber and it’s likely they have a topic that interests you and can help you learn something new for your business without having to pay for it. Plus, chamber membership means any of your employees may attend.
Finding New Customers
The chamber is an excellent source for finding new customers. Through networking, hosting an event, sponsorship, cash mobs, thought leadership seminars or a host of other ways, the chamber can help you connect more deeply with your community.
Many people think of the chamber as a group similar to the better business bureau and they put a great amount of trust in a business that is a member of the chamber.
Chamber membership can also provide greater visibility for your business with opportunities to serve the greater community. While you may not feel like you have time for that as a small business owner, the chamber has opportunities for all levels of engagement. From serving on the board to volunteering at check-in for an event.
Membership is a great way to meet people and people buy from those they know, like, and trust.
Marketing to Future and Current Customers
Many small business owners lack marketing skills. If you can’t hire it out, you may be happy to know the chamber likely has creative marketing opportunities that can help you get your name out into the community.
The chamber also talks about its members on social media, which helps you leverage their large audience. They can host a ribbon-cutting for you if you’re a new business or help you celebrate a key milestone.
They also likely have people on staff who can help you brainstorm ways to reach your ideal audience and make suggestions such as mailers, learning sessions, and social media assistance.
It comes as no surprise that with all these other stresses, small business owners are concerned about not having enough time. The chamber can help here too. Not only can they help introduce you to the “hidden” job market of people who aren’t actively looking for positions but have strong interests in the community, they also have lunch and learn sessions on a variety of topics that could help you streamline your operations.
Learning is one way the chamber can help but it also helps as a partial partner in your marketing. The chamber supports getting the word out about your business and their efforts can save you time in your own marketing.
A chamber membership provides a large amount of value for the small business owner if they know how to use it. Paying dues won’t help allay your fears about your business but getting involved in the chamber and the community can help you reach more people, elevate your business reputation, and improve your marketing. These ideas will help you grow and improve your revenue stream.
Christina R. Green teaches small businesses, chambers, and associations how to connect through content. Her articles have appeared in the Midwest Society of Association Executives’ Magazine, NTEN.org, AssociationTech, Event Managers Blog, and WritersWeekly. She is a regular blogger at Frankjkenny.com.
As an introverted writer, she’s on a quest to bring great storytelling to organizations everywhere while single-handedly combatting the overuse of exclamation points.